"To enter Nick Mauss’s exhibition at 303 Gallery, you must push through not one but two doors, painted with loose outlines of figures amidst swathes of lavender and teal, like the entrance to a closet or a tomb. The doors choreograph how visitors move through a show that – like so much of Mauss’s work – is itself about choreography. The bodies of dancers are rendered in acrylic, ink and charcoal with the fast yet sure hand of a balletomane, their arms raised or extended against screen-printed spangles and silver paint – hallmarks of Andy Warhol. If Mauss’s paintings seem to merge the pop-art icon’s later style with his early years as a fashion illustrator, they also trace a lineage of the queer image from the figurative to the abstract. Decorative patterns are both inscribed onto and stand in for human skin (Compilation, 2020); chequers cascade down the ponytail of a woman as she looks in a vanity mirror (Untitled, 2016); while scalloped shells and drapery folds evoke the bodies that may have once resided or moved in them (As Companions, 2020). "
Evan Moffitt, "The Best Shows in New York During Armory Week," Frieze, March 4, 2020.
For his fourth solo exhibition at 303 Gallery, Nick Mauss has brought together works from the past several years that have never been exhibited, underscoring the primacy of drawing and its temporalities within the continuum of his work in other dimensions and mediums. Mauss also reimagines the threshold to the exhibition itself as an image plane on the scale of the body, inserting a set of painted doors that dramatize the viewer’s passage through the space, even implicating the viewer among the shifting frames, recurring figures, and points of contact set off in Mauss’s work. As art historian Gloria Sutton has written, Mauss’s work is “not simply about the movement of bodies but, rather, movement itself as a historiographic condition—a set of narrative frameworks used to interpret both proximity and distance and the transitions that occur in between. The ways bodies come together (as multitudes, constellations), as objects (collections), as fields of knowledge (disciplines), and commensurately, the ways bodies move apart, separate, retreat, and withdraw via diverse pressures (including acts of erasure and disavowal) within the current moment and throughout history remain of equal and pressing import.”
Mauss’s exhibition Bizarre Silks, Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts, etc. opened February 7th, 2020 at Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland, and his 2018 work “Images in Mind” is installed at the Whitney Museum as part of The Whitney’s Collection: Selections from 1900-1965, and will be on view until 2021. His multi-part ceramic murals “Dispersed Events” were recently permanently installed in the I.M. Pei-designed Building 66 at M.I.T. Mauss’s book “Transmissions”, which expands on his 2018 exhibition at the Whitney, is now available from Dancing Foxes Press and Yale University Press.
Installation walkthrough: Nick Mauss, 303 Gallery, New York, 2020
"I can’t really think of an art viewing experience that is not theatrical. But a particular relationship to theater in my work comes through in my focus on the frame. In making exhibitions, I put a great deal of emphasis on the presence of people looking at my work, apprehending it but also becoming the figures in the work. Protocols of spectatorship are warped or rerouted by structures such as the ones you’ve described, this banister-like sculpture that is a drawing of the movement of the eye through the space, or hanging, collapsible rooms made of ribbons that impose themselves on a space while delimiting another kind of possibility. I think of the way one might move through the space, and what can be encountered along the way, or how this experience can be frustrated."
Nick Mauss, excerpted from "Point of Undoing: Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Nick Mauss, Heimo Zobernig and Catherine Wood In Conversation," Mousse Magazine, October 2017.